I was lucky enough to get myself over to the Sydney Writer’s Festival last weekend for TeenCon2015! It was the first event of its kind – a FREE event – where YA readers, authors and publishers got together to talk about their favourite thing – YA books! Look at the gorgeous weather 🙂
I started my day with Emily from The Book Addict. She interviewed me (I know, I was surprised anyone wanted to talk to me too!) for a her university research into the shaming of YA books and its readership. She didn’t seem to mind that I had loads to say and was really patient with me.
We hung out afterwards (there were hot chips involved), and made friendly conversation with the lady sitting at the next table at the cafe. And then GRUG walked past! I was more excited than some of the children there. It also turned out that the lady we sat next to lives in the same suburb as me in Canberra. Talk about coincidences!
Then we went to the bookstore! Of course we went to the bookstore. I didn’t buy anything (no money, remember?), but I think I convinced Emily to try Melina Marchetta’s The Lumatere Chronicles.
I was a bit sad I didn’t get to meet Melina herself. I’ve only met her once but she’s the sweetest. I’ve listened to her give talks as well, and she’s one of the people that inspires me the most!
Emily and I were wandering around the pier looking for where we should line up for TeenCon when I spied the lovely Gabrielle Tozer. We had this moment where we weren’t completely sure if it was really her or not, so Emily suggested we check Instagram. I honestly didn’t know how that could help us, but she was totally right! The very first post on my Instagram was of Gabrielle and Grug, and we were able to (NOT CREEPILY) confirm that we had indeed seen Gabrielle! So we went up and said hello! Gabrielle is wonderful, I really loved talking to her in person after all the twitter conversations we’ve had. It felt like we already knew each other!
We eventually joined the line for TeenCon, and I scurried up and down handing out my bookmarks and talking about #OzYAChat. Most people looked at me like I was an alien, but I hope some of them will join the online book community and find lots of friends there!
THEN CAME TEENCON2015!
We took our seats, and it was all hush and anticipation until Felicity (the wonderful Penguin behind @PenguinTeenAUS) kicked things off. She was an amazing MC. Totally epic. Social Media Headbands will be A THING.
First up, there a panel with four book reviewers. The wonderful Kat from Cuddlebuggery Book Blog kept amazing company with Booktuber Catriona (Caz) from The Little Book Owl, Tilly from Tilly and Her Books, and Alison from Read around the Rosie. I actually didn’t take any notes during their QnA panel session because I was too engrossed! It was great because they all blog quite differently but obviously have the same passion for books, authors and reviewing as I and many other reviewers do. My main take-away from the panel was to not stress so much about everything, to be myself (always great advice but so so hard to follow), and I’ve decided to take more photos of my books for Twitter and Instagram.
The panel was followed up with an introduction to most of the major YA publishers in Australia. The representatives all came up and said a brief hello, and I was very excited to see my friend Kim (everyone’s friend Kim, Kim is lovely) representing Hachette.
The publishers then had a Read Now, Read Later session, which I think was INSPIRED. The task was to pitch books for us in 30 seconds, first a book they had already published that we could read now, followed by an upcoming title that we should pre-order.
I took notes during this section but it all went a bit too quickly for me, but thankfully, Penguin Teen Australia posted up the full list.
Penguin Teen Australia: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Walker Books Australia: Spark (Spark #1) by Rachael Craw
Random House Australia: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Simon and Schuster Australia: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Bloomsbury Sydney: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
Allen and Unwin: The Guy, The Girl, The Artist and his Ex by Gabrielle Williams (my review)
HarperCollins Australia: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) by Claudia Gray (my review)
Scholastic Australia: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury
Text Publishing: Shadows (The Rephaim #1) by Paula Weston (my review)
Hachette Australia: Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard (my review)
Hardie Grant Egmont: Lifespan of Starlight by Thalia Kalkipsakis
Penguin Teen Australia: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
Walker Books Australia: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Random House Australia: Risk by Fleur Ferris
Simon and Schuster Australia: Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
Bloomsbury Sydney: Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
Allen and Unwin: Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti
HarperCollins Australia: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Scholastic Australia: George by Alex Gino
Text Publishing: Adrift by Paul Griffin
Hachette Australia: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
Hardie Grant Egmont: Bro
The links all go to Goodreads, go add them all to all your lists. LISTS EVERYWHERE. I love lists.
Then came the Book Boyfriend Battle, which was arguably what everyone was most eagerly anticipating. Each publisher picked two of their leading men, and had 60 seconds to tell us why we should vote for them. I tried to live-tweet this part but my phone froze up a few times, so I missed a few of the candidates!
Allen and Unwin
Tarver Merendsen – These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Chris Merrick – Storm by Brigid Kemmerer
Chaol Westfall – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Park Sheridan – Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Edward Cullen – Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Tobias “Four” Eaton – Divergent by Veronica Roth
Josh Wasserstein – Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Penguin Teen Australia
Dimitri Belikov – Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Augustus Waters – The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Peeta Mellark – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Sam Roth – Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Raphael (Rafa) – Shadows by Paula Weston
Tiny Cooper – Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Walker Books Australia
Jonathan Christopher “Jace” Lightwood/Wayland/Herondale – The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Jamie Gallagher – Spark by Rachael Craw
Random House Australia
Cameron “Cam” Briel – Fallen by Lauren Kate
After the publishers pitched their book boyfriends, the crowd had to clap and yell and squeal to vote for the finalists. The final three were Chaol, Dimitri, and Four.
Now began the best part of all: the representatives got to slander and otherwise discourage us from voting for the other two. Some really harsh points were brought up, such as:
- Dimitri’s inappropriate relationship with one of his students, and how he was just plain creepy, and what the hell is up with that jacket?;
- Four’s insecurities in Allegiant, and the SPOILERY thing that happened, and then Christina. (Penguin Teen Australia actually just blurted out what happened at the end of Allegiant, but I’m not brave enough to.); and
- Chaol’s leaving and his general confusion.
Then we voted again, and the winner was Dimitri Belikov!
After all the fun and excitement, it was time to leave. But not before we grabbed our amazing goodie bags! There were 30 bags from each publisher (so like, 300+ in total), and they all had a selection from about 11-13 titles. I met Sophie from Imaginary Misadventure, who was volunteering at the event, and I picked up one of the Scholastic Australia bags. It’s absolutely gorgeous, sturdy, and is my new best friend.
Then it was time to go home! I was with Pavan from Keep it Fictional and we found Emily from The Book Addict again. We had an impromptu book swap on the train, and this is my final TeenCon2015 book haul!
I really wanted We All Looked Up, so I’m super grateful to Emily’s friend to offering me her copy!
TeenCon2015 was a blast. I loved every minute of it, especially getting to meet all these amazing people and sharing my love of YA with others. I’ll definitely be attending next year, and hope to see you there too 😀